Finding the right donor prospects is probably harder than actually asking for donations! You have a wonderful, unique project. Everyone else in your field is getting grants and donations (it seems).
But you have searched and searched, and you just cannot find the right donors or grants. The time has come to breathe, reset, and try some new tricks. Here are a few tips to refocus and find the right funding opportunities for your organization.
1. To Find Your Prospects, Stop Trying to Find Your Prospects
One of the best way to find new donor prospects and new grant opportunities is to focus entirely on your program work instead of on fundraising. Gallup found that mission is the reason that 81 percent of donors give. And that donors research charities extensively. If you live your mission and have a great impact, the donors will come to you.
2. Form Some Great Partnerships to Expand Your Donor Prospect List
If the work you are doing is not attractive to prospects and does not fit with grants, do some other work! Partner with a complementary organization that can add a new dimension to your projects. For example, work with your local special needs school. Or add a green dimension to become more environmentally friendly, with the help of your local conservation organization.
3. Learn Some New Search Tools for Donor Prospects
Plenty of good prospect research tools are out there to help. Most you have to pay for. Likely, you are trying to find new prospects without the help of an expensive consultant or fundraising firm. Here are seven online resources you can use to try to find new prospects and to learn more about people that might be prospects.
4. Ask for Help for New Donor Prospect Identification
Have you asked? Some organizations require their board members to hand over at least one name or organization that can donate. Also think beyond your board! Ask your staff. Ask your volunteers. Ask your suppliers. Ask the teachers you work with. Ask your other donors. Sometimes just talking to others is the best way to gain insight.
5. Get out There
Donors are active and involved with the organizations and movements that they cherish. So get out there and meet them where they will likely be. Go to trade shows in your area. Attend your competitions’ galas. Get involved as a board member in other organizations. Fight to be on public committees. Get out, into the community, and find them.
6. Throw an Event That Has Nothing to Do with You
If you can afford it, throw an event that has nothing to do with you (or only on the periphery). This is great if it honors others in your field. That way you show collaboration and selflessness. Give away an award for the most influential female leader in your field. Host a marathon that benefits just one person or place. You might be successful in attracting attention that you otherwise would not attract. This can help with re-branding and showing a new image to the community!
Other things to try include focusing on completely different fundraising strategies, such as going after corporate donors, trying to attract a high net worth donor, or using social media for the first time. You might attract a different audience that way!